Dutch writer wins 100,000-euro literary prize

Dutch author Gerbrand Bakker has won the 100,000-euro (124,000-dollar) International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the world's biggest cash prize for a work of fiction, organisers said Thursday.

Bakker scooped the award for his debut novel "The Twin."

He beat off competition from 155 titles to win the prize, which is unique in that it receives its nominations from public libraries around the world. This year 163 libraries from 43 countries took part.

Bakker will share the prize with his translator David Colmer, who will receive 25,000 euros.

The novel is about a man who has to return to his family farm after his twin brother dies in a car accident and is resigned to spending his days "with his head under a cow."

The judging panel say that though rich in detail "it's a sparsely written story, with the narrator's odd small cruelties, laconic humour and surprising tendernesses emerging through a steady, well-paced, unaffected style."

They describe Bakker's writing as "wonderful: restrained and clear" and say he "excels at dialogue."

Patron of the award, Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello, said that winning would mean that "this beautifully written Dutch novel will come to the attention of readers worldwide."

Other novels shortlisted for the prize included "In Zodiac Light" by Robert Edric and "Home" by Marilynne Robinson.

The only literary award which pays more than IMPAC is the Nobel Prize, which rewards a body of work rather than a single book.

First awarded in 1996, the prize - sponsored by a Florida-based management productivity company whose European headquarters is in Dublin - was established to underline the Irish capital's stature as a literary centre.

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